For the doctor José Manuel Martínez The letter G , coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Confederation of Relatives of People with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias (CEAFA), the difference between Alzheimer's and the senile dementia It is clear:
It's like calling everything in a fruit bowl fruit, instead of pears, apples or lemons. " The term senile dementia, he adds, is so general that it should disappear from medical terms.
Alzheimer's is the most frequent senile dementia and is the disease responsible for approximately 65% of senile dementias.
Senile dementias can have different causes. Senile dementia can occur due to Alzheimer's disease, small infarcts that occur in the brain or due to Parkinson's disease in advanced stages.
All senile dementia must be given a surname and most are called "Alzheimer's." Dr. Martinez Lage, one of the most recognized European experts on the subject, points out that although it is thought that this disease has a genetic origin, the reality is that This inheritance occurs in just over 1% of cases.
The age and the family background they are factors of risk for all the senile dementias . As one ages, the risk of developing Alzheimer's increases. However, developing this disease is not part of normal aging. Having a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister or father with Alzheimer's increases the chances of having it.
Although they are not fully proven, other risk factors are: suffering from high blood pressure for a long time, having a history of head trauma and being a woman. There are two types of Alzheimer's disease, those of early onset and late onset.
In the first, Symptoms appear before the age of 60 and it is much less common than the second; however, it tends to progress rapidly.
The early onset disease can be hereditary and several genes have already been identified.Late-onset Alzheimer's is the most common form of the disease, it develops in people 60 and older. This form of the disease can be inherited in some families, but the role of genes is less clear.
The cause of this type of dementia is not completely known, but it is believed that it covers both genetic and environmental factors.
The diagnosis of this disease is made when certain symptoms they are present and verifying that there are no other causes of dementia. The only way to know with certainty that someone suffered from Alzheimer's disease is to examine a sample of brain tissue after death.
The primary symptom of the onset of the disease is memory loss , but not of the memories of a lifetime, which remain a long time, but the loss of short-term memory of what was done yesterday or that morning. "It would be a very big simplification to think that Alzheimer's is just memory loss , but it goes beyond.
It is personality change, tendency to social isolation because the patient feels uncomfortable and has difficulty participating in a collective conversation, can not find the words he wants to say, "the specialist adds.
The Alzheimer's have three types of symptoms : those of order intellectual or cognitive , (how to speak, execute, solve problems of ordinary life); those of type neuropsychiatric (such as aggressiveness, agitation, eschatological behavior, hallucinations of visual origin, paranoia), and the symptoms of disability , which occur when there is a progressive deterioration in the activities that a healthy person does in daily life.
According to Dr. Martinez Lage, approximately 30% of patients are not aware that their brain is getting sick, so it can be said that they do not suffer.